'Pretty Little Liars' S4-E9 Recap: Happy Birthday, Emily?
Hasn’t this season of Pretty Little Liars felt a little slow in comparison to previous seasons? Nine episodes in and the police are still tracking down Wilden’s murderer while the Alison case (minor developments and Mona’s premiere confessional aside) has been mostly static–shouldn’t we be learning a bit more at this point, rather than treading previously-explored ground? Instead of being pushed along, story lines–like Emily’s injured arm, Ashley’s legal trouble, Spencer’s proclivity for enthusiastically suspecting everyone at some point or another, and Aria’s new relationship–are being explored over and over again each week, with no real resolution in sight. Though slow-burning plots can be fine, they need to be balanced with some excitement; “Into the Deep” tried to mix quiet character moments with a party and a near drowning, but all of the action was saved for episode’s end. Maybe the intriguing aftereffects will carry on into the next episode or episodes? Let’s hope so.
Anyway, onto the episode…
Mona’s false(?) confession brought Hanna some much-needed good news: the police finally set Ashley’s bail. The bad news? The bail was set at one million dollars. After a tearful phone call with Caleb in the park, Ashley ran into Reverend Ted. He’d heard about Ashley’s arrest and told Hanna to have faith things would work out. Hanna, the realist, stated she didn’t need faith, she needed money. However, when Ashley’s bail was paid by an anonymous source, both Marins assumed Hanna’s father had paid up; he didn’t, of course, but Ted did. Ashley realized the truth when Ted stopped by the house with a pie, and she returned the favor with an explanation (she’d fought with Wilden on the night he was murdered but didn’t kill him) and the acceptance of a dinner invitation. So, Ashley’s in the semi-clear for now but still under house arrest. Meanwhile, Mona, released from the police station due to a lack of evidence, returned to Radley for an extended stay, but she seemed oddly pleased to be there? Obviously she’s planning something, but how long until we discover what it is? And is she hoping to help the Liars, or resume her A mission?
Because of Emily’s recent A-related stressors, Paige decided the best way to distract Emily was through a meeting with a famed swim trainer and a surprise party at Paige’s aunt’s lake house. Unfortunately, Paige neglected to inform the trainer of Emily’s injury, and Emily received the disappointing news that it’d be very unlikely she’d be trained in time for scholarship season. Poor Emily’s taken most of the brunt from A’s attacks lately, hasn’t she? Between her injured arm, destroyed house, and parental drama, it’s a wonder the girl hasn’t checked herself into Radley at this point, if only to catch a break. Now her relationship with Paige is looking grim–despite Paige’s good intentions, the girls know they won’t be together next year at Stanford, and three thousand miles plus four years of separation is an awfully huge obstacle. Emily promised Paige she’d try to enjoy her party, but she escaped the first chance she got and found Jenna unconscious in the lake. After rescuing her, Emily showed Spence and Aria the blood stains on her sleeve, indicating Jenna had been knocked on the back of the head.